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Who gets a World Cup winner's medal?

20:03 EAT 16/12/2022
Kylian Mbappe Ousmane Dembele France World Cup 2018 medal
When the World Cup concludes, which nations are in line for medals and who is entitled to a gold medal?

World Cup finals are among the most nerve-wracking and rewarding events in sport and players fight it out for a chance at getting the gold medal around their necks.

In the Olympic Games, athletes and teams are awarded bronze, silver and gold medals to benchmark performances in their respective disciplines.

In football on the other hand - while a similar meritocracy does exist - there is generally less importance placed on the awarding of medals. This is exemplified by the abundance of high-profile footballers who have been captured removing medal ribbons from their necks, in the aftermath of a final defeat.

There is an attitude - from both a player's and supporter's perspective - that second place should never be 'celebrated'.

Conversely, playing members of silverware-winning teams often receive a corresponding gold medal, along with their side's trophy. Needless to say, the imagery of former World Cup champions revelling in glory with a gold medal is much more common.

With this in mind, GOAL takes a look at how exactly FIFA award their World Cup medals.

Who gets a World Cup winner's medal?

Only the winners of a World Cup are entitled to a winner's medal. However, all members of the top three performing nations - that's players, coaching staff and managers - will receive a medal of some sort.

  • The World Cup winners receive gold medals (players, coaches & managers)
  • The World Cup runners-up receive silver medals (players, coaches & managers)
  • The third place play off winners receive bronze medals (players, coaches & managers)

In 2018, France won their second title, collecting gold medals for the entirety of their team and coaching staff. The runners-up, Croatia, succumbed to their opponents 4-2 and collected silver runners-up medals consequently.

In the third place play-off, Belgium beat England 2-0. In doing so, the Red Devils picked up bronze medals and England flew home empty-handed.

Does anyone get a fourth-place medal at the World Cup?

This is a relatively alien concept to most football fans.

Somewhat unusually, a fourth-place medal has been awarded, to the hosts South Korea in 2002.

Having narrowly lost to Germany in their last-four tie, they played Turkey in the third-place playoff. That match ended 3-2 in favour of the transcontinental nation.

This was the year that they miraculously reached the semi-finals, overcoming Italy and Spain in the process.

Did the whole squad always receive World Cup winners' medals?

Before the 1978 tournament, medals were only awarded to the 11 players on the pitch at the end of the final and third-place playoff matches.

In November 2007, FIFA announced that all members of World Cup-winning squads between 1930 and 1974 would be retroactively presented with winners' medals.

Since 2006, World Cup champions have also been afforded the right to sport the FIFA Champions badge. This is for the reigning champions of both the Club World Cup and the international World Cup.

What does the World Cup winner's medal look like?

The World Cup winner's medal has changed slightly over the years.

A key fixture that remains is the image of the World Cup trophy in the foreground.

2018's winners' medals featured the aforementioned trophy, with 'world champions' and 'FIFA World Cup Russia 2018' engraved as well.